It’s that time of the year again, as we await the news as to who will be the Christmas Number 1 2021. But what are the biggest Christmas Number 1s of all time? Well, handily we’ve been at the calculators and worked out what they are by combining both sales and streaming figures to produce the ultimate list.
Look away now though, Ladbaby, I’d pop the bubbly back in the fridge if I were you.
Perhaps the quintessential Christmas chart-topper, the original Band Aid
line-up’s version of Do They Know It’s Christmas from 1984 is not only the biggest-seller with 3.83 million sales, but with streams combined it now totals at 4,989,000. With it continuing to re-enter the Official Chart every Christmas, it’s likely to hold on to that position for some time.
But wait. Who is this hot on its heels? Why, it’s Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody with a combined total of 4,304,000, possibly helped by the fact it’s been Christmas Number 1 twice. Also, due to its non-Christmas subject matter and being Queen’s biggest song in general which is played throughout the year, it has the potential of creeping up to pole position.
Another non-festive favourite that’s stormed its way up the list is Ed Sheeran’s 2017 Number 1 Perfect, with a combined total of 4,130,000. Again, it’s one of those non-period specific songs that could gradually creep up all year round as saleswise it doesn’t rank in the Top 20, Perfect’s success is predominantly down to streaming alone.
The grand finale of Boney M’s annus miraculous of 1978, and their Number 1 single Mary’s Boy Child/ Oh My Lord, is in fourth places with a combined figure of 2,354,000, with 1.9 million of those down to sales of the song at the time.
Another song by an act that defined their particular year is Don’t You Want Me by The Human League, which finished off, what was for them, an incredible 1981. With a combined total of 2,328,000 including 1.6 million pure sales, the song has re-entered the chart (in 1995 and 2014) albeit just not at Christmas time.
Whitney Houston’s legendary take on Dolly Parton’s I Will Always Love You from 1992, which spent ten weeks at the top, is at Number 6 in our rundown. The evergreen is now at 2,289,000 with 1.67 million pure sales.
Clean Bandit’s 2016 chart-topper Rockabye, um, rocks up at Number 7 due mostly to streaming as it doesn’t feature in the Top 20 on sales, but still amasses a healthy 2,196,000 chart sales.
Approaching its fiftieth anniversary and unlikely to be disappearing any time soon is Merry Xmas Everybody by Slade. The glam rockers’ pension plan shows no sign of letting up, being a regular playlist staple and Christmas chart returnee on 2,156,000, with 1.32 million of those as pure sales.
Number 9 sees Paul McCartney and Wings’ Mull Of Kintyre currently at 2,140,000 with 2.09million sales mostly from its time in the Official Chart in 1977. In fact Macca does quite well overall as he populates the Top 20 with three songs from his stint in The Beatles, with I Want To Hold Your Hand at Number 10, I Feel Fine at 14 and Day Tripper/ We Can Work It Out at 15.
The Top 20 is rounded off by the viral sensation that was Rage Against The Machine’s Christmas Number 1 Killing In The Name, with 1,313,000. The track caused great upset to Simon Cowell and The X Factor, who had enjoyed a run of festive chart-toppers before this rap metal anthem barged in, thanks to a campaign led by Jon Morter.
Official Top 20 Biggest Christmas Number 1s
||DO THEY KNOW IT’S CHRISTMAS?
||MARY’S BOY CHILD/OH MY LORD
||DON’T YOU WANT ME?
||THE HUMAN LEAGUE
||I WILL ALWAYS LOVE YOU
||MERRY XMAS EVERYBODY
||MULL OF KINTYRE/GIRLS’ SCHOOL
||I WANT TO HOLD YOUR HAND
||MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE
||ANOTHER BRICK IN THE WALL (PART 2)
||I FEEL FINE
||WE CAN WORK IT OUT/DAY TRIPPER
||GREEN, GREEN GRASS OF HOME
||2 BECOME 1
||STAY ANOTHER DAY
||KILLING IN THE NAME
||RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE
©2021 Official Charts Company. All rights reserved.
*This chart is compiled taking in physical and digital sales, plus streaming equivalent sales.